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The Carnival

Sunday 9 June, 10am-5pm, free and drop-in

The Whitworth Presents...
The Carnival

This June, the Whitworth presents The Carnival, a day of activities celebrating art, culture and our vibrant community, as part of The University of Manchester’s Bicentenary year

Sunday 9 June, 10am-5pm
Free, drop-in

The Carnival is a one-day programme of live art performances inside the art gallery and out in its gardens. Including an array of free activities for all ages, music, and street food vendors. The sculpture terrace, on Manchester Oxford Road, will be transformed into a carnivalesque experience for one day only.

There is something for everyone, check out Indoor events and Outdoor events listings below.

Find out what's on and where...

The Carnival – Indoor programme

10am to 5pm | See the full schedule below

Location: Grand Hall

Soca Step
Timings: 11am-12pm & 1pm-2pm
Kezia Daniel presents Soca-Step! Suitable for young people and adults.
Step Boards will be provided.
Kezia Daniel is Co-Founder and designer of WeR1 mas band, a Manchester-based Caribbean Carnival team who have built one of the best Mas Bands in Greater Manchester. Kezia is a certified aerobic step instructor and incorporates carnival practice into her fitness instruction.

WeR1 Mas
Timings: 2 – 4pm
A presentation of Moss Side’s WeR1 Mas Band Costumes over the years with curator and creative contributor Nikita Gill.
Nikita Gill is an advocate for art in the North and uses Carnivalesque praxis as a joyful and active disruption of colonialism. She is a Carnivalist with WeR1 Mas Band, a creative, and a curator who has worked with the International Institute of Visual Arts (INIVA), the Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery, and is currently working with Touchstones, Rochdale. She is dedicated to nurturing empathy towards artists, creatives and the people she collaborates with.
WeR1 Mas are the current winners of the Mas Band of the Year (2023) and have travelled nationally and internationally celebrating Caribbean carnival culture. WeR1 Mas supports and celebrates art, dance choreography, health and fitness.

Location: Gallery 3

Carnival Baby
timings: 10am-12pm

Carnival Baby! – A sensory play space, movements and language themed around carnival for babies
under 2 and their grown-ups to explore together.


12noon-12.45pm – Dance Around The World
1pm-1.45pm – Storytelling
2pm-2.45 pm – Circus Skills

Afrocats is an award-winning charity that works closely with communities. It delivers creative workshops to adults and children that explore creativity, culture, and resilience.
Dance around the World! | Join Afrocats on their global dance journey, exploring dance from various continents, including Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and South Asia. You will also have the chance to share your dance moves from the music you like. For families or adults.
Storytelling | African songs, drums and stories to create space and build confidence with fun and engaging activities for all.
Circus Skills | Circus skills workshop for all ages. Try your hand at all things circus! Mas (Afrocats) is an international performer, instructor and facilitator in dance, circus, and music from Ethiopia.

Location: Gallery 4

Artivists presents 200 Paper Flowers
Timings: 10am-4pm
200 Paper Flowers challenge – Come and join the Age-Friendly ARTivists in their challenge to make 200 paper flowers. Inspired by our John Lyons carnival colours and to celebrate the university's 200th birthday.

Location: Clore Garden Studio

Mask Making Workshop
Timings: 12noon-3pm
Mask Making Workshop – Grandparents, parents & families. All are welcome in our Clore Garden Studio to make a mask inspired by our John Lyons exhibition and facilitated by artist Simone Frater-Russell.

Location: Mezzanine, Everyday Art School

Sally Hirst (from Venture Arts)
Timings: 12noon-2pm
What makes you, you?
Draw your hands whilst thinking about your own identity, character and personality.

Timings: 10am-5pm

The Carnival – Outdoor programme

11am to 5pm | See the full schedule below

Location: Sculpture Terrace

Carnival Queenz

Timings: 2.20pm, 3.35pm & 4.20pm
Ghetto Fabulous bring to life the colour and flamboyance of carnival in this freestyle dance frenzy. Come and break it down to a special soca mix by DJ Sequinella and join the party!

Manchester Samba School

Timings: 12.05pm, 1pm, 3.10pm & 3.55pm
The first samba school in the Northwest of England was formed in 1995 to foster an appreciation of Brazilian carnival culture through rhythm, melody, dance, puppetry, and simple costumes. The school focuses on this art form and offers classes in percussion and dance from different areas of Brazil.


Timings: 2.20pm, 3.35pm & 4.20pm
Jamsalana is a group of musicians from the Caribbean and Sierra Leone. The Caribbean band members emerged from the Manchester Youth Steel Pan Orchestra and Mancunian Steel, which was founded by Trinidadian, Arthur Culpepper, in the mid-1980s. They play a mixed repertoire of traditional Jamaican and Trinidadian folk music and covers of contemporary pop songs bringing joy, energy and an upbeat atmosphere to their audiences.

Face Painting
Timings: 12noon-4pm
Wonderful carnival creations created by Sarah Cowan from House of Body Art.

Chad Taylor presents... Closer to My Dreams
Timings: 12.30pm & 2.40pm
Two young, black brothers from inner-city Manchester dream of becoming professional dancers. Weaving together poetry, rap and hip-hop choreography, we follow the brothers as they build friendships and relationships and try to succeed in the face of adversity. Closer to My Dreams is a playful, heartfelt take on family and friendship, exploring how we respond to the trials and tribulations life throws at us, and knowing when it’s best to hustle or just let go.

Andrew Wolfenden – Street Mural Artist
Timings: 11am – 5pm

Location: Art Garden

Drag Storytime
Timings: 12pm; 1pm & 3pm
Inspired by the mythical colourful creatures from John Lyons: Carnivalesque exhibition, a Mancunian drag legend, HRH Lill brings these colourful beings to life in our gallery spaces.
Join us as Lill entertains and enthrals us by becoming these mythical creatures in person, telling their stories through performance. A must-see for all the family.

Location: Art Garden & Lower Promenade

WYC & Chanje Kunda presents... Climate Crisis Carnival
Timings: 2pm & 3.30pm
Whitworth Young Contemporaries working with multidisciplinary artist Chanje Kunda explore performance to create a 'Climate Crisis Carnival'. Celebrating the past and fighting for the future, masquerade meets promenade performance in this experimental issue-based presentation.

Location: Community Garden

Timings: 10am-5pm
Life In The Soil – with Artists and Scientists. Meet scientists from The University of Manchester, learn about the fascinating life that exists beneath our feet - and help us create an amazing art installation. Art Installation by Anthony Bennett and Paul Evans. Inspired by soil biodiversity, Forget/Me/Not features ‘Minecraft’ flowers and tunnels that take us into the amazing world of life in the soil! Find out more here.
Art / Eco-graffiti / Seed bombs!
Free, Family Friendly, suitable for all

We look forward to welcoming you to the Carnival!